thinktoomuch.net

Pondering the South African Memesphere – Looking for the Good in Everything

thinktoomuch.net header image 2

Scientists Have To Believe In Evolution…

May 15th, 2008 · Posted by Hugo · 22 Comments

A recent email exchange with a creationist brought up this sentiment again:

He has to believe in evolution because that is the career he chose. He sucked up what they told him.

This creationist tactic is disingenuous. They are taught that the reason scientists accept evolution, is because they would not otherwise get a job, and thereby find an excuse to distrust the opinion of any expert or professional in the field. Yikes.

Why is this so effective? Because it is true… albeit with a nasty spin. In order to get a job as a scientist, you need to accept the scientific method. The scientific method leads to the acceptance of evolution. Thus, indirectly, you do have to accept evolution to get a job as a scientist. Rejecting evolution requires either rejecting the evidence, or rejecting the scientific method.

I suppose if you’re in a field of science where you can remain wilfully ignorant of the evidence, you can get by while ignoring evolution. Maybe that explains why some students refuse to study the section of the work devoted to the “E” word, too “satanic” to even say the word… They choose ignorance, maybe suspecting that the evidence will be too convincing to ignore. Rather refuse knowledge of the evidence than having to find another excuse, like rejecting the scientific method.

Did he “suck up what they told him”? Sure, yes, he did, because it was backed by evidence and peer reviewed studies in reputable journals. That’s the reason he “sucks it up”. Evolution had as hard a time as any paradigm shift in science, when it was first introduced, and it was only eventually accepted due to the body evidence piling on, and being much more accurate than any other alternative theory.

Now we can turn the tables on the creationists: creationists also suck up what they’re told. I suggest it is not because of a body of evidence, because no creationist has presented evidence for creationism or provided an alternative scientific theory that stands up to scrutiny yet. That’s why they go for attacks like this disingenuous one. They have to believe in creationism because that is the interpretation of the Bible they choose, a literal one.

For creationists, I would suggest one of the following two courses of action:

  1. accept and admit that you are rejecting the scientific method in favour of a literal interpretation of a Judeo-Christian version of the ancient Sumerian creation myths (using the academic definition of myth: I’m not implying they are true or false — in fact, I believe they do contain profound truths despite being non-factual), or
  2. find yourself a church where the preacher/pastor has a degree in theology from a reputable seminary, and is able to recognise the human imprint and prophetic imagination in the book of Genesis. Among Stellenbosch churches, that includes Stellenbosch Gemeente and the Moederkerk. In authors, that includes CS Lewis, though I could recommend going with contemporary authors like Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, or Ron Martoia.

The unfortunate thing is that that short list likely ended up on a number of “authors and churches to avoid” lists, which can contribute to the impression that creationists and Shofarians are “anti-intellectual”.

Other alternatives include staying at Shofar while realising the leadership is incorrect about Genesis and evolution, or else choosing to remain ignorant on science. I just wish people choosing the last option could realise that they are choosing ignorance.

UPDATE: Sorry, “choosing to remain ignorant” is somewhat loaded. Rather, “choosing to get on with your life, not paying any more attention to the creationism/evolution thingy, and just leaving it with oh, I don’t know.” It is not possible for everyone to know everything, and knowledge of science is not necessary for everyone. Just please leave it at “I don’t know” then, and stop spreading disinformation. Thanks!

Categories: Religion and Science · Shofar · Website
Tags: · · ·

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Marthelize // May 15, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Very nicely done and very well put.

    And of all the thoughts bumbling around in my slightly over-crowded mind right now, the one i immediately want to let out is that your comment on “choosing to remain ignorant” is NOT in fact all that loaded. I understand that you are not at all out to offend anyone, just as I understant how some people could find that comment offensive or condescending.

    But the truth is if anyone, be they hard-core creationists or average (non-scientist) church-goers, chooses to simply choose to ignore science, then by definition they are choosing to be ignorant. (Definition of ignorant being “The condition of being uneducated, unaware of uninformed).

    Now hear this: I am not expecting anyone who has an opinion on creationism or evolution to be scientists of the highest calibre. But out of respect for scientists and science (which allows us to blog here, get a flu shot, warm our leftover pizza in the microwave and fly from continent to continent etc etc) at least get your facts straight, if it’s the facts you’re going to attack.

    And if it’s the scientist you’re going to attack… well then you’ve missed the point completely.

  • 2 Marthelize // May 15, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    *understand.
    Geez my spelling has become decrepit…

  • 3 Kenneth Oberlander // May 16, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    Basically, to second what Marthelize said.

    Hugo. Excellent post.

    Why is this so effective? Because it is true…

    You’re setting yourself up for a truly marvellous quotemine there…hehehe.

    I agree with Marthelize. Ignorant as an accurate description of someone can be completely objectively applied. Meaning only lack of knowledge in a field. Of course, there is the figurative, pejorative sense of the word as well, which is why you are being so careful. In cases like this, I have gotten around the inferred insult by actually including the definition of the word ignorant in the conversation. It helps to keep down the swear words…;-)

    Rejecting evolution requires either rejecting the evidence, or rejecting the scientific method.

    To me, both options reduce down to rejecting the evidence, because the use of the scientific method is experimentally supported as the best way to go about explaining the universe.

  • 4 Hugo // May 16, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    You’re setting yourself up for a truly marvellous quotemine there…hehehe.

    To be quote-mined, is to know you have “arrived”. ;)

    If that does happen (I doubt it, I’m sure I’ll never be a famous scientist): I’m actually thinking of starting a “quote mine project” (inspired by the Talk.Origins project), where all kinds of mining is encouraged. Including mining creationists, The Bible, etc, but also explaining the context of the quote mine, and why it is misleading. I wonder if it could be a useful resource, allowing demonstration of the evils of quote mining by using it against creationists?

    To me, both options reduce down to rejecting the evidence, because the use of the scientific method is experimentally supported as the best way to go about explaining the universe.

    Okay… however, based on what do you measure “good/better/best”? By the results/achievements of the process, I guess? (I.e. technology et al.) I’m not so sure about that claim: some would claim “going to heaven is better than having a good life in this life”, and would therefore consider technological advancement at the cost of loss-of-religious-faith a clearly detrimental influence. ;-) So reducing the two options to only one (evidence) is dependent upon your world-view.

    But yes, I have faith in the scientific method, and in evidence. And I measure things by the fruit they bear. (Quoting Jesus here… but again, the subjectivity of “good fruit” and “bad fruit” is where the problem may lie.)

  • 5 Kenneth Oberlander // May 16, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Okay… however, based on what do you measure “good/better/best”? By the results/achievements of the process, I guess?

    Yes, sorry, I explained this poorly. Your measure success by the results. In other words, if you have several alternatives to explaining the universe, such as myth, scripture, revelation etc. etc., the scientific method is obviously superior because it gives results. To give a specific example, it is obvious that the Norse myth of Thor and his hammer is less predictive and powerful a theory of lightning than our current meteorological models. The Bible’s description of the the Tower of Babel as the source of language diversity is clearly inferior to our current scientifically derived understanding. And the constant predictions of Doomsday and Armageddon put forth by various loony cults are also refuted by science, not to mention reality. So our most successful way of looking at reality objectively, and of predicting the behaviour of reality in the future, is the scientific method. This is not to imply it is perfect, of course. It is merely the best we’ve got. It’s still pretty damn good, if you ask me ;-)

    So reducing the two options to only one (evidence) is dependent upon your world-view.

    Heh, yes. As I mentioned…;-)

  • 6 The First TTM Gathering: Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, Episodes 1 to 3 // May 17, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    [...] Blog | Comments ← Scientists Have To Believe In Evolution… [...]

  • 7 will // Nov 22, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    Six days and siesta! Thats what it took!

    I am a scientist and I believe evolution to be a joke, a religion and a cult in itself.

  • 8 Hugo // Nov 22, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    Before any of my scientist friends chips in and responds to #7 (trolling? bait? ;) ), I’d like to ask will:

    What’s your notion of “science”? Do you subscribe to Popper’s idea of falsifiability? (Or are you keen on Francis Bacon? Do you know about the white-swan example against induction?)

  • 9 gerhard // Nov 25, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    will : yeah , and i know doctors who believe in chiropracty, your point? Still means he’s a bad doctor who’s hurting his patients.

    hugo : have you read black swan? man , what a great book :)

  • 10 Hugo // Nov 25, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    I think will was a drive-by… *sigh*.

    Oh, and even chiropractic stuff will be a somewhat sensitive matter if I get around to blogging about it. I’ve someone in my extended family marrying a chiropractor.

    I’ve not read Black Swan, no… I think it just got itself added to my to-read-list/wishlist (after a quick glance at its wikipedia page). Thanks!

  • 11 gerhard // Nov 26, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    hugo , yeah , chiropractors , touchhealing , hemopathy.. more or less the same thing.. my aunt when she was dying turned as a last resort to touch healing .. very andy kaufman like. Was heartbreaking to see her find false hope like that. Worst of all she forked out thousands to learn that if u rub your hands together until they are warm and then apply the warm to a spot , all it does is warm that spot. To take advantage of grief like that .. shoe .. *shakes head* I don’t blame her tho the stupid fuckers wasting her last little bit of time, them, i blame.

  • 12 Hugo // Nov 26, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    In response to gerhard:

    I don’t blame her tho the stupid fuckers wasting her last little bit of time, them, i blame.

    Yes! Do you do the same for people attending fundamentalist churches? Blame the “stupid fuckers” that mislead them, rather than them for being mislead?

    That’s all I ask.

    Though it is something of a philosophical matter to decide who bears blame and who not. Does Tom Cruise bear blame? Or only those above him in Scientology? And if those disappear and Tom Cruise is at the top, does he bear blame? Comprehend that one could argue he might be a “stupid fucker”… but not necessarily to blame?

    Ooh, if we could agree on that last idea, what a wonderful day that would be! ;) Can we agree? Can we?

  • 13 Emily Harper // Apr 15, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Science leads to God

    In my opinion may scientist are too proud to say creationism is a possibility. The ones that do are pushed out, as you said Scientist are made to accept evolution.

    I have to big questions for Evolution

    The big bang, now scientificly if you hear a small bang there is going to be a reason why you hear it, it didn´t just happen someone or something made it. Now how should it be any diffrent for a big bang. Scientist don´t have an anwser for such a simple question, and it should crumble down right there.

    Second, sure, we see small or minievolution this dog is white this dog has spotts, if you want to call that evolution. Or even the butterfly example, were all the white mothes were wiped out and the black ones were left, but thats not evolution thats just the disappearance of the white ones and the black ones were there before, so it really wasnt related to evolution at all.

    Maybe there is a little back up for microevolution, but the first sign of life, there is no explination. Now there was a test done by Miller who created an environment or the early earth, and ran electricity through it. Out came amino acids the building blocks for cells. Many people bought it, but is in school text books and called it science, but when we dig down deeper we find it, “….it was interesting historically, but not terribly relevant to how life actually developed.”

    Miller Did not use the environment, that scientist later calculated, but used ammonia, methane, and hydrogen, they used things they knew would provide a positive out come. The earth was filled with nitrogen and carbon dioxide, gases that won´t react.

    Not only does that make the test no longer valid, as scientist dig deeper, the find it even more complex, amino acids are just the building blocks, and need to be put together by chance. The need the right amino acids, with the right order, and a lot of them, please I´m not a scientist, but this simple. Now these amino acids that arn´t likly to appear because the chances are so low, need to react to each other, but they happen to react with other things then themselves, a lot quicker then themsleves. Not only do you need a dew of these to came in the right pattern but, a whole lot. The calculation of this happening is is small even over billions of years its not scientific.

    If this was found interesting I sugest digging deeper in a book called The case for faith, authored by Lee Strobel about a man who asks difficult questions on some of the hardest of christianity

    Thank you for Reading

  • 14 Marthelize // Apr 16, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Wow!

    It seems that we have here the only living person that was present at the beginning of the world!

    Someone who not only knows exactly what the composition of early atmosphere was…but who was THERE for the big bang!

    It must be…since she knows so much about it without being a scientist….

    Emily, you might want to rephrase a few statements in your post before you so openly attack science. For instance, stop contradicting yourself. You state that amino acids are building blocks that need to be put together by chance. In the next sentence you say that you need the right amino acids in the right order. So which is it? Chance? Or intelligent design?

    I’m sorry but your “facts” are too unclear and incomprehensible to find interesting.

    And please. Please. Don’t make the assumption that all scientists are attackers of Christianity. It’s insulting and a sure sign of being uneducated and naive.

  • 15 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 16, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Hallo Emily. Welcome.

    Science leads to God

    Hmmm…it is my opinion that science has done exactly the opposite.

    In my opinion may scientist are too proud to say creationism is a possibility. The ones that do are pushed out, as you said Scientist are made to accept evolution.

    You do understand why this is true, don’t you? Because the evidence for evolution is immense, undeniable, cohesive and growing.

    I have to big questions for Evolution

    Would you like for them to be answered?

    The big bang, now scientificly if you hear a small bang there is going to be a reason why you hear it, it didn´t just happen someone or something made it. Now how should it be any diffrent for a big bang. Scientist don´t have an anwser for such a simple question, and it should crumble down right there.

    Actually, no, a big part of current physical models of the universe involves events that have no cause.

    Also, it is interesting that you use the words “someone or something” (my emphasis). A large number of people assume the cause of the universe is a person or intelligent entity, which is by no means the only option.

    Finally, I thought your post was about evolution. Whatever does the Big Bang have to with evolutionary theory? The two are found in almost entirely unrelated areas of science.

    Second, sure, we see small or minievolution this dog is white this dog has spotts, if you want to call that evolution.

    This is by definition evolution.

    Or even the butterfly example, were all the white mothes were wiped out and the black ones were left, but thats not evolution thats just the disappearance of the white ones and the black ones were there before, so it really wasnt related to evolution at all.

    I’m afraid you are entirely wrong here. One of the most succinct definitions of evolution is the change in gene frequencies in a population over time. This is exactly what happened in the peppered moth example you quote above. The genes for light-coloured wings decreased in the population, whilst the genes for dark-coloured wings increased, as a result of industrial pollution.

    Maybe there is a little back up for microevolution, but the first sign of life, there is no explination. Now there was a test done by Miller who created an environment or the early earth, and ran electricity through it. Out came amino acids the building blocks for cells. Many people bought it, but is in school text books and called it science, but when we dig down deeper we find it, “….it was interesting historically, but not terribly relevant to how life actually developed.”

    Hmmm…true and false. The actual historical importance of the Miller-Urey experiment was tremendous, because it showed how you can get the building blocks of living things easily from very simple organic precursors. True, the experiment itself did not reflect the conditions on the early earth as we currently understand it. But tremendous effort has gone into duplicating more accurate conditions in experiments, and the same organic precursor molecules are still generated.

    Also, the origin of life is not equivalent to evolution.

    Miller Did not use the environment, that scientist later calculated, but used ammonia, methane, and hydrogen, they used things they knew would provide a positive out come. The earth was filled with nitrogen and carbon dioxide, gases that won´t react.

    As mentioned above, this is not entirely true. There are many different explanations for how life arose, but few of them have trouble explaining how the building blocks of life got produced. The problems with these explanations lie in other areas.

    And again, don’t confuse abiogenesis (origin of life) with evolution. The two processes are not the same thing.

    Not only does that make the test no longer valid, as scientist dig deeper, the find it even more complex, amino acids are just the building blocks, and need to be put together by chance. The need the right amino acids, with the right order, and a lot of them, please I´m not a scientist, but this simple. Now these amino acids that arn´t likly to appear because the chances are so low, need to react to each other, but they happen to react with other things then themselves, a lot quicker then themsleves. Not only do you need a dew of these to came in the right pattern but, a whole lot. The calculation of this happening is is small even over billions of years its not scientific.

    You don’t think it rather arrogant that you, as a non-scientist, are telling bona fide scientists what is, and what is not, scientific?

    That is by the by, though. One of the major mechanisms of evolution, namely natural selection, is completely the opposite of chance. It is this process that puts together non-random chains of amino acids over time.

    If this was found interesting I sugest digging deeper in a book called The case for faith, authored by Lee Strobel about a man who asks difficult questions on some of the hardest of christianity

    I think I can propose rather harder questions… ;-)

    Thank you for Reading

    Hope you still are.

  • 16 Hugo // Apr 16, 2009 at 10:16 am

    So there you have two answers, from scientists. ;) Marthelize is finishing her masters’ degree, Kenneth holds a PhD in biology (specialising in botany). Not that I mean to make a case for “argument from authority”, I’m rather pointing out “they know their stuff”, and if they have the patience and maintain friendliness, there’s much that you could learn from them, should you be interested.

    Of course, if they feel attacked, the conversation will quickly deteriorate. And their patience might be limited, they’ve had enough grappling with some of the least humble creationists you get. ;) (Attending seminars, for example.)

    You mention origins. Some of the philosophically-minded define God as “the answer to why there is something rather than nothing”, which could be “an original cause” in terms of cause-and-effect, but also rather a “reality”, a “ground of being” (borrowing the theologian Paul Tillich’s words). This is similar to the kind of reference you find to God from some scientists like Einstein. (And need not have very much in common with the traditional Christian notion of God.) But it still has nothing to do with evolution, just like theories about the origins of life, like abiogenesis, as mentioned above, is independent of the process of evolution. So it is probably best if we don’t mix too many conversations. (E.g., God and evolution and abiogenesis.) We could discuss evolution without debating about God, for example, if you want to understand evolution better. (And most mainline churches have accepted evolution as scientific fact.)

    With regards to one of your questions:

    Not only do you need a dew of these to came in the right pattern but, a whole lot. The calculation of this happening is is small even over billions of years its not scientific

    I think this post is relevant to that question:

    Incorrect Creationist Calculation: Likelihood of Formation of a Particular Protein.

    That was in response to a creationism seminar last year. I have an index to the posts related to it available in this post – the most interesting should be “Batten #1″ to “Batten #8″.

    Thoughts? Also, feel free to take a step back and have us discuss the impressions our comments are creating on one another. ;) That conversation can also be very interesting.

  • 17 Hugo // Apr 16, 2009 at 10:41 am

    On Lee Strobel:

    I started reading Lee Strobel back in the days when I was looking for whatever I can to save the faith I felt I was busy losing. I “balanced” his book (not sure which one it was anymore) with a critique of it. Combining the two, Lee Strobel’s work was of no use, so I stopped reading again, and continued looking.

    For The Case for Faith, for example, there’s this:

    The Case Against Faith: A Critical Look at Lee Strobel’s The Case for Faith (4th ed., 2006)

    Thus, I don’t like Lee Strobel’s approach.

  • 18 Emily Harper // Apr 16, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    First, the big bang and evolution I see as two peas in a pod. I am troubled because of the amount of churches that have accepted evolution. I believe God exists and is capable of makeing the earth and has. So puting God and evolution together, seems to be saying “no God you can´t do this” And he ceirtainly can.

    I did not get the reponce I wanted for the reason the big bang actually begun, I sorry but i dont agree something can happen without somthing propelling it, we see this, I would like to call is science, but it seems science is turning into a weird kind or relgion of its self. Back to somthing propelling it, say we see a duck, we know it didnt just appear there, but was once an egg, that came from another duck and so on, down the evolution trail for you, and down the generations of ducks for me. We have a reason for everything until we reach the end or the begging the big bang, but what, what started that
    ?
    About the, this dog is white this dog has spotts, I would not call that evolution because, they still hold the DNA, and I beleive they always had the DNA just one is showing, or a mixture.

    The amino acids react with other things much faster then themselves, like pairing a hand full of weak magnates with a whole sea of strong magnates, the handfull will not find each other, and time will not make a diffrence.

    I want to hear your opionion on how languages came to be in such a selecion.

    Why miracles happen, I have seen it myself.

    Why peoples lives are wonderfully changed when they put their trust in God.

    Why it makes us happy when we help others.

    why people search for reason in life.

    Hey thanks for your responce, I´ll have to learn as much as I can. :)

  • 19 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 16, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    First, the big bang and evolution I see as two peas in a pod.

    But they aren’t. They are at best only tangentially related to one another, in that the Big Bang provides an ultimate (in the sense of non-proximal) explanation of the universe in which evolution occurs. But, in this sense, the Big Bang also explains the occurrence of rocks, Elvis Presley, and mucus. The two theories are almost never used in the same area of science.

    I am troubled because of the amount of churches that have accepted evolution. I believe God exists and is capable of makeing the earth and has.

    But you don’t consider god big enough to have done so via the Big Bang?

    So puting God and evolution together, seems to be saying “no God you can´t do this” And he ceirtainly can.

    Then why can’t he do so using evolution? I know many Christians who are happy with this argument.

    I did not get the reponce I wanted for the reason the big bang actually begun,

    Well, that is one of the purposes of debate. You need to react to what people say, not what you expect them to say ;-).

    I sorry but i dont agree something can happen without somthing propelling it,

    Quantum physics explicitly proposes this. There are experimentally verifiable effects that do not have causes. This is a real part of our universe.

    we see this, I would like to call is science, but it seems science is turning into a weird kind or relgion of its self.

    I hear this from many people, and it never fails to confuse me. In what possible way relevant to this discussion is science like a religion? We don’t have priests, Holy Books, dogma, or any of the other paraphernalia of religion. All we ask is that back up your ideas with evidence.

    Back to somthing propelling it, say we see a duck, we know it didnt just appear there, but was once an egg, that came from another duck and so on, down the evolution trail for you, and down the generations of ducks for me. We have a reason for everything until we reach the end or the begging the big bang, but what, what started that

    If you follow the duck/egg/duck/egg trail back long enough, you get things that are neither ducks nor eggs. These things change through time. Once ducks were non-avian dinosaurs, and hard-shelled eggs were soft and squishy. The things we call ducks and eggs were assembled, piece by piece, throughout evolutionary history.

    About the, this dog is white this dog has spotts, I would not call that evolution because, they still hold the DNA, and I beleive they always had the DNA just one is showing, or a mixture.

    Not really. The various genes that encode for coat colour are variously distributed across the population of dogs worldwide, but genes aren’t things that mix, like paint. Dogs pass on the genes for coat colour (with a minute chance of change, or mutation) to their offspring, in ways that we understand very well. But those genes are all variants of an original gene that has evolved into various copies, which have different effects on coat colour.

    The amino acids react with other things much faster then themselves, like pairing a hand full of weak magnates with a whole sea of strong magnates, the handfull will not find each other, and time will not make a diffrence.

    I’m afraid I have no idea what you are trying to say here.

    I want to hear your opionion on how languages came to be in such a selecion.

    Put simply, they evolved. We can trace the histories of languages back in time, and see how they converge on one another. You would not understand Old English from 700 years ago: it is barely comprehensible to us. But if you follow the course of the English language back through time, you can see the language shifting from it’s modern form, through many intermediates, into Old English.

    Why miracles happen, I have seen it myself.

    Ah yes, the argument from personal experience. It is quite possible that you have experienced a miracle. But I wonder if you haven’t considered the possibility of a more mundane reason for said miracle.

    Why peoples lives are wonderfully changed when they put their trust in God.

    Peoples lives are wonderfully changed when they let go of god, as well, or when they change gods. This is hardly evidence for a specific god, and anyway, has nothing to do with evolution per se.

    Why it makes us happy when we help others.

    This, however, does have to do with evolution. We have evolved a sense of empathy because we are a social primate, a species that survives in groups. A sense of empathy and reward is a vital part of such a social, big-brained species.

    why people search for reason in life.

    Hardly evidence for a god. We can search for reason even if we have no need for god.

    Hey thanks for your responce, I´ll have to learn as much as I can. :)

    If only my students had the same attitude…
    /grumpy.

  • 20 Hugo // Apr 16, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Dangerous word choice, Kenneth:

    those genes are all variants of an original gene

    Of course, Kenneth means that “original gene” in the context of a particular time-frame, comparing a specific common ancestor with resulting offspring. That “original ancestor” is again the offspring of a prior “original ancestor” when you take a different, earlier reference frame.

    Anyway, this conversation is touching on very many topics all at the same time. As enticing as each topic is, I’m trying to limit myself to but one or two topics at a time. My primary choice now, seeing as I think it is the thing we (regulars on the site) might be able to learn most from, is this discussion:

    we see this, I would like to call is science, but it seems science is turning into a weird kind or relgion of its self.

    I hear this from many people, and it never fails to confuse me. In what possible way relevant to this discussion is science like a religion? We don’t have priests, Holy Books, dogma, or any of the other paraphernalia of religion. All we ask is that back up your ideas with evidence.

    I have my own responses I can give to the “cross-over similarities” between religion and science, in what ways they are related. But this does indeed depend very much on what “religion” means to you.

    Emily, can you tell us a bit more of how you “experience” science, in what way you feel it to be “like religion”? There is no right and wrong answer in this. (As long as you phrase it in terms of how you feel about it though, rather than stating it in terms of objective facts.) How does science make you feel? What kind of science feels most like religion to you? Through which we should be able to get a better understanding of what religion means to you as well.

    Everyone is welcome to pick any topic they want to discuss, and as many or as few as they like. But I still suggest considering limiting the scope of the discussion a bit, by limiting the number of questions, to avoid it becoming overwhelming? I don’t know, depends on whether you are interested in discussing something interesting to more significant depth, or whether you want a broad shotgun-like approach. (My concerns with the latter is that it becomes a rapid exploration of how many different things we can disagree on, and then goes nowhere because of that.) Your choice! ;)

  • 21 Marthelize // Apr 16, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Ok… time for me to jump in… Although Kenneth has already stolen most of my thunder (and arguments!), I’m throwing in my two cents anyway.

    First, the big bang and evolution I see as two peas in a pod.

    Ok. Firstly you’re wrong. Just plain wrong, from a purely definitional point of view. But if you want to reason like that, then I’ll say that Christianity and Islam are two peas in a pod. I’m just using your logic here, since they’re both religions. So they must be the same (Your reasoning would have been: the big bang and evolution are both scientific things so they must be the same)

    Maybe I’m being presumptuous but i’m just applying the type of logic you used to your own convictions.

    The amino acids react with other things much faster then themselves, like pairing a hand full of weak magnates with a whole sea of strong magnates, the handfull will not find each other, and time will not make a diffrence.

    I also have no idea what you’re on about. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins which are the building blocks of life (EXTREMELY oversimplified statement but it’s the basic idea). Amino acids vary greatly in structure. Some are basic, some are acidic. Their structure and affinity for each other determine how they will “build” proteins. Ask any biochem student how complex this process is. They’re also very specific. one change in a structure can totally change (or eliminate) a protein’s function or even shape. So…without having a clue what you’re asking, i’m pretty sure you’re wrong…

    Emily, I have a bit of a hard time trying to understand your arguments. maybe if you structure your posts a little more clearly, there will be less misunderstandings in the meaning?

  • 22 Kenneth Oberlander // Apr 16, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    @Hugo

    Of course, Kenneth means that “original gene” in the context of a particular time-frame, comparing a specific common ancestor with resulting offspring

    Ack! Hugo, you’re right. “Original” gene should be read as the “original” gene “for coat colour”.

    @Marthelize

    Although Kenneth has already stolen most of my thunder (and arguments!), I’m throwing in my two cents anyway.

    Oops…sorry ;-P

    @Emily
    I have to second Hugo and Marthelize. Perhaps we can discuss one thing at a time, instead of the current scatter-shot approach?

Leave a Comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>